The properties of carbon fibres are as diverse as their potentials. By applying carbon fibres in multifunctional lightweight structures, wind turbines, for example, can generate the basis for a CO2-free economy. Mobility, on the road, water, rail and in the air achieves greater ranges with lower greenhouse gas emissions through the use of carbon fibres and the resulting mass reduction. While the potential of carbon fibres as a future technology has already been confirmed, their industrial production has so far been based primarily on petrochemical base materials and energy-intensive processes, with high costs compared to metals.

In order to achieve the paradigm shift to a product-specific precursor and carbon fibre production with modified polyacrylonitrile (PAN) on the one hand and sustainable raw materials on the other hand in combination with renewable energy, the Cluster of Excellence MERGE of the Chemnitz University of
Technology, the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP and the BTU Cottbus/Senftenberg cooperate within the scope of the feasibility study InnoCarbEnergy. Together with stakeholders from politics and industry, the potential of a fully equipped research and pilot line is being discussed, ranging from the production of precursor materials, stabilisation, carbonisation and post-treatment of carbon fibres to textile processes on a semi-industrial scale.

As part of the InnoCarbEnergy feasibility study, in addition to central technical and economic issues, sites within the municipality of Boxberg/Oberlausitz are analysed, which are particularly well suited for the establishment, operation and maintenance of a research facility as well as the settlement of industrial partners. This process is accompanied on the business side by the Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG and Lausitz Energie Kraftwerke AG (LEAG) and on the research side by the Chemnitz University of Technology and Brandenburg University of Technology BTU Cottbus–Senftenberg.

With the common vision of a climate-friendly transformation of the region from the coal economy of the past and present to a self-supporting bio-economy, sustainable technology paths for the production of
carbon fibres are being discussed and the necessary infrastructure for the operation of the research and pilot plants is being planned within the consortium. The aim is to position the research site permanently
and independently in the research landscape as the “Carbon LabFactory Lausitz”. Due to the growing importance of carbon fibres and the steadily increasing demand for lightweight, energy-saving components, the planned research operation will result in a further global competitive advantage for the
regional industrial landscape.

To ensure that the needs and expectations of the companies are taken into account from the very beginning and can be included in the implementation of the study, the project partners are currently conducting a needs analysis. The survey can be complete by contacts who are interested in carbon fibres and want to expand their use. Based on this information, joint research and development projects can be initiated. The questionnaire is aimed at SMEs and LEs.

Take part in the survey now! This questionnaire can be accessed via the following link.